One of the more recent cases where a female Banteng was shot by poachers in the vicinity of Maliau Basin last October 2017.
Photo: Danau Girang Field Centre

Malaysia: Plantation manager behind one of Banteng shootings, says Sabah Forestry Department
By Kristy Inus, 30th November 2017;

Sabah Forestry Department has identified a plantation manager as a suspect behind the killing of one of the three Bornean Banteng (Bos javanicus last month.

Its chief forest conservator Datuk Sam Mannan in revealing this today said the man was also believed to be involved in the selling of the meat for the Peninsular Malaysia market.

He said with an estimate of less than 400 Bantengs left in Sabah, the species, also known as Tembadau, is the most endangered large mammal in this state and currently listed under the Totally Protected Species.

Authorities had recently revealed that the three killings in October happened at Maliau, Sipitang and Tabin conservation or forest reserve areas. It was learnt that the plantation manager has been identified in one of the photographs seized, where he posed with a Banteng carcass.

“It is no longer a suspicion because we have nabbed the individual… There will be a prosecution later… So this is still under investigation and we believe the person can provide more information,

"We expect more (individuals) from within this (oil palm) industry,” said Sam, after opening the Bornean Banteng international workshop to discuss the conservation of the species.

He described their actions as an “embarrassment” to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) initiative.

Sam added that the department was also looking for a foreigner, who acted as a ‘scout’ for the poachers.

Meanwhile, Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) research and training facility director Dr Benoit Goossens said to shoot a Banteng, one would require a sophisticated firearm with special bullets.

He said this year, four Banteng killings have been identified, but cases were estimated to average around 12 annually including those that went unreported.

“As for transporting or sending it to the Peninsular market, it was easy because the culprits can just put the Banteng meat in cooler boxes and authorities, thinking it to be buffalo meat will just let them through,” he explained.

As for the setting up of a dedicated wildlife enforcement team to face poachers as announced by the department previously, Benoit said a crime analyst would beneficial for the squad.

"Information gathered needed to be analysed, so the enforcement team can go to places they can likely catch the poachers,” he added.

Goossens said due to the limited population of Banteng in Sabah, a captive breeding programme is also being discussed in the workshop.

“We need to increase population for example at Sipitang or Sugut reserves areas where there are not enough individuals to survive there even without poaching.

"We need to start the captive breeding programme from now and the target is not to lose anymore numbers… or else the species will suffer the same fate like the Sumatran Rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatraensis) 20 years down the road.” he stressed.

Source: New Straits Times

One of the more recent cases where a female Banteng was shot by poachers in the vicinity of Maliau Basin last October 2017.
Photo: Danau Girang Field Centre

Malaysia: Plantation manager in Sabah unmasked as poacher
30th November 2017;

A senior plantation manager has been identified as a suspect behind one of three Banteng (Bos javanicus) killings last month, and of selling the meat for consumption in peninsular Malaysia.

Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said that the suspect was identified through photographs with a carcass of the wild cattle that is known locally as tembadau, an endangered and totally protected species in Sabah.

“We have identified more suspects within this industry. It cannot be anyone else, they belong to a certain ethnic group that we would not expect to be involved in this kind of hunting,” he said.

“We have focused in on one person, but this one person could lead us to so much more information. We will know soon, there will be a prosecution, he said.

Mannan said he could not reveal more as the case was still under investigation.

However, he rebuked the actions of poachers and said it was an "embarrassment” to the people with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

“We had warned them that this was happening. The people in peninsular Malaysia like beef, and there is an emerging market of exotic meat; therefore, these Banteng meat and payau (Sambar) (Rusa unicolor) or local deer, are in demand,” he said.

He was speaking at the Bornean Banteng International Workshop and Conference.

Mannan said they knew the hunters were not villagers who did so as part of their local customs, but outsiders who either killed for sport or trade. He also did not know if the guns used were licensed and registered.

Earlier, Danau Girang field centre director Benoit Goossens told the conference there were three Banteng poaching incidents in three different protected areas here — Maliau Basin, Sipitang forest reserve and Tabin Wildlife reserve — in just three days.

"They were carrying sophisticated guns and were wearing proper gear, so you know they are city people,” he said.

He said since an estimated 70 per cent of poaching went unrecorded, this meant that as many as a dozen Banteng may be killed each year.

“With only a population of fewer than 400, this (12) is a massive number. Many herds live in small pockets of isolation and they cannot afford to lose a single individual.

"At that rate of poaching, the species will not survive another 20 years and we will lose it like we lost our Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatraensis),” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

Spear gun victim. A Sea Turtle lies dead on the shores of Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: DENR-Central Visayas to probe sea turtle death
30th November 2017;

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Central Visayas is set to investigate an incident in Moalboal town wherein a pawikan or Sea Turtle was found dead on the town’s shores earlier this week.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR-Central Visayas public information officer, told SunStar Cebu that they have tasked the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) to investigate who the culprits are behind the killing of the turtle in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

On his Facebook page, Kalle Epp, a netizen, claimed they found a dead Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) in a coral reef in Sitio Tongo, Barangay Basdiot earlier this week.

A spear gun wound was found on the dead Turtle’s neck.

“We are outraged! Since several weeks we have seen an increase in people, local and foreign, coming to Moalboal for spear gun hunting as a sport and reported this to authorities,” Epp said, in his post.

Epp has appealed to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities in Moalboal.

Cirilo Tapales, Barangay Basdiot chief, told SunStar Cebu that the dead pawikan has been turned over to the town’s tourist police.

Tapales believes that fishermen from other barangays may have speared the Turtle at night to avoid detection.

Tapales said spear hunting is illegal in Moalboal.

Llamedo said hunting Sea Turtle especially within marine protected areas like the Tañon Strait is illegal, according to Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.

A fisherman caught violating RA 9147 could spend jail time of up to 10 years or pay a fine of P500,000 for each Sea Turtle that he or she kills.

Llamedo also reminded the municipal government of Moalboal to boost up its monitoring activities on their coastal waters to avoid such incidents.

Sea Turtles are considered critically endangered under the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“The presence of a pawikan is a sign of having a healthy marine ecosystem and we need people and fishers who take care of them while they travel for forage or nourishment,” Llamedo added.

Source: Sun.Star

Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Sea Turtle found dead in Cebu
By Annie Perez, 30th November 2017;

Divers on Wednesday found a pawikan (Sea Turtle) dead at the Sampaguita Reef in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu, apparently succumbing to wounds on its face and neck.

Renato Vidal was manning a pump boat full of divers when a floating Hawksbill Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) caught their attention. When they approached, they found out that the Turtle was already dead.

They suspect the Turtle was a victim of spear fishing.

Moalboal police have yet to determine if the Turtle was wounded on its own or was intentionally harmed.

Under Republic Act 9147, harming and killing endangered animals, including the pawikan, is punishable by law.

Moalboal Police chief Senior Insp. Jose Rovic Villarin said they are still investigating the matter.

Marine life advocates in Moalboal are now calling on the public to stop harming marine life, especially the pawikan.

Beth Balane, a dive guide, said marine life is also for the next generation to see.

The dead Turtle was turned over to the Provincial Environmental Office for further investigation.

The town of Moalboal is a dive spot in Cebu province known for its rich marine life.

Source: ABS-CBN News

TURTLE KILLED IN MOALBOAL

We have found a dead Turtle this morning at the coral reef near Sampanguita, not far from our dive shop. With by all means looks like a spear gun wound in the neck. We are outraged!

Since several weeks we have seen an increase in people, local and foreign, coming to Moalboal for spear gun hunting as a sport and reported this to authorities. The Turtle killed is one of the Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) which are a major tourist attraction, protected by national and local laws. We appeal to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities and senseless slaughtering of protected marine life for sport in Moalboal. We offer our full support in the investigation and protection of Moalboal’s marine life. The Turtle is handed over to local authorities for determine the exact cause of death.

Source: Kalle Epp Facebook